Switchover Information for Bridgend and Glamorgan
We’re taking random areas of the UK to see what the options are like for TV after the digital tv switchover, both the channel availability for Freeview and the availability of Sky, Virgin Media and BT digital TV packages.
The Wenvoe transmitter in the Wales TV region has two switchover dates – March 3rd and March 31st 2010 – and covers much of South Wales including Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan, so we’ve taken two genuine addresses in each of these two areas to examine the digital TV options available to the people who live there. Our www addresses are in Bridgend, Porthcawl, Barry and Cowbridge and when we looked at what’s available on Freeview and when we found that eventually they will all have 60 channels available, although there are slight differences in how it will happen. Barry and Bridgend already have good reception on 60 channels and will have throughout; the address in Porthcawl has variable reception for 23 of them in the early stages of switchover and the Cowbridge address has a period in the middle where 19 channels will be lost but will return later. Equipment will need to be retuned after each of the switchover dates above and then again at some point in 2011 but in most cases this just involves following some on-screen instructions on your Freeview box or TV with built-in Freeview tuner – more information on that here.
The methods of reception in the four locations are almost the same – in all cases the options for a one off payment are Freeview, Freesat and Freesat from Sky and available subscription services are Top Up TV, BT Vision and Sky. Virgin Media cable services are not widely available yet – at this point only the Barry address had full cable access – but this is changing all the time and it’s worth checking your own postcode in the Virgin section below.
Freeview TV is received through your regular TV aerial (in certain cases an upgrade will be required – the Porthcawl address specified this may be needed after stage one of switchover) and some kind of Freeview tuner – this could be a standalone box from around £15 upwards to a TV or hard disc recorder with a Freeview tuner (or two) built in. If you’re going to use Freeview on its own rather than in conjunction with Sky, Virgin or BT then you need to consider having two tuners or you won’t be able to record one programme and watch another.
Here are the 60 Freeview channels that will be available in the four postcode areas, with more new channels being added all the time…
- Channel 4+1
- Dave ja vu
- ESPN (paid)
- Five USA
- Big Deal
- Create Craft
- Price-drop TV
- Rocks Co
- Home (paid)
- Top Up Anytime 1
- Top Up Anytime 2
- Top Up Anytime 3
- Ideal World
- Teachers TV
- BBC News
- BBC Parliament
- Sky News
- Sky Sports News
- Russia Today
- TV News
- Television X (adult)
- Smile TV (adult)
- Smile TV 2 (adult)
- Partyland (adult)
- Babestation (adult)
- Babestation 2 (adult)
- Rabbit (adult)
- Gay Rabbit (adult)
After stage 2 of the switchover the BBC HD and ITV1 HD channels will be available in all four areas to those people with an HD-compatible Freeview box (it needs to be DVB-T2 High Definition with support for MPEG-4 format). As mentioned above, during the switchover the Cowbridge area channel selection will fall from 60 to 41, losing the following until 2011 – ITV3, Virgin1, ESPN, E4, Five USA, Fiver, G.O.L.D, Quest, Home, Top Up TV Anytime 1,2 and 3,, QVC, Bid TV, Teachers TV, CNN, S4C2, Television X Red Hot
These are the results we got using the Sky, Virgin Media and BT postcode checkers.
For the addresses in Barry and Bridgend we got “Great news, Sky Broadband is currently available in your area. Based on the postcode you have entered there is a good indication you are in a Sky Broadband network area, where Sky Broadband Base, Mid, and Max are currently available. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line.”
What does this mean? All of the services offered by Sky are available to you.
The message for the Porthcawl and Cowbridge postcodes was; “Based on the postcode you have entered, there is a good indication that Sky Broadband Connect, is available in your area. Fast download speeds of up to 8Mb and a massive monthly usage allowance of 40GB can be yours now with Sky Broadband Connect. Please note: broadband speeds vary with location and line quality. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line.”
What does this mean? It means you can’t get the regular Sky broadband services as your exchange hasn’t been updated yet, but you can receive the 8MB Connect service – this doesn’t affect your ability to get Sky TV deals in the usual way using a Sky TV box and Sky dish, meaning you can get new services like 3D TV. You need either a BT or Sky phone line – Sky will install a phone line free of charge and then £10 per month is charged. You can still take out any of the broadband TV packages but only with the Connect broadband rather than Base, Mid or Max.
BT broadband is available for all of our test postcodes, the difference being the speed – for Barry and Bridgend we got;
“Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial check on your postcode indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a fixed line rate up to 2Mbps.
Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL Max broadband line rate of 5Mbps or greater.
Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL2+ broadband line rate of 6Mbps or greater.
The actual stable ADSL line rate supportable will be determined during the first 10 days of use. This rate may change over time, to ensure line stability is maintained.
If you decide to place an order, a further www will be performed to confirm if your line is suitable for the service you wish to purchase.”
What does this mean? BT broadband is available to you and should be fast enough to be able to use BT Vision – you need a broadband speed that averages at least 2Mbps to use BT Vision so all of these postcodes should be fine but it’s advisable to check your own postcode to get your own particular line speed.
The result for the postcodes in Porthcawl and Cowbridge was the same but the fixed line rate was 2Mbps and ADSL rates 5.5Mbps – no ADSL2+ but still fast enough to support BT Vision
The address we tried in Barry had full Virgin Media access and returned the following message
“Because you’re in a fibre optic cable area, you can get all this – Up to 50Mb broadband – Over 165 digital TV channels – Great value home phone packages. So help yourself to fibre optic broadband, the very best digital TV, and phone services.”
What does this mean? All of the Virgin Media services – broadband, phone and cable TV are available to you.
Our other three test postcodes got this message;
“You’re not in a fibre optic area, but can still get our brilliant broadband down your phone line. With Virgin Broadband you can get the faswww broadband we can deliver down your phone line, up to 20Mb. Then, you can simply add any extras you want, including home phone.”
What does this mean? You can get Virgin Media broadband down your phone line but no cable TV services – they offer a Freeview box for £40 but this is not connected to the broadband (the way it would be with BT Vision), it’s just a Freeview box like any other you would get from a shop. Because Virgin Media relies on each street being cabled there are large variations in availability, so it’s always worth checking your own postcode by clicking on the logo above.
Please note that our switchover pages refer to the switchover dates and channel information at the time of writing, which is generally pre-switchover, and for most areas circumstances will have since changed.
- Caradon Hill Switchover
- Carlisle Switchover
- Carmarthenshire Switchover
- Cornwall Redruth Switchover
- Dumfries and Galloway Switchover
- Exeter Switchover
- Lincolnshire Switchover
- North Devon Switchover
- Preseli Switchover
- Sedgemoor Switchover
- Sheffield Switchover
- South Gloucestershire Switchover
- South Somerset Switchover
- Southwark Switchover
- Stoke Switchover
- Stroud Switchover
- Swansea Switchover
- Torbay Switchover
- Wenvoe Switchover
- Wyre Digital Switchover
Digital TV Packages
- Sky+ HD Starter
- Sky+ HD with Sky Movies
- Sky+ HD with Sky World
- Sky+ HD with Sky Sports
- Virgin TV L + Phone M
- Virgin Media TiVo Starter Bundle
- Premiere Collection
- Top Up TV Favourites
- Top Up TV Complete Sports Pack
- BT Vision Gold Pack
- TV Essential + Broadband and Anytime Calls
- TV Unlimited + Broadband + Anytime Calls
Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £20 a month
Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £20 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2GB broadband usage and included evening and weekend calls.
Virgin Value Bundle
£20 a month
This bundle has size ‘M+’ TV, that’s 65 channels, TiVo, On Demand & Catch-Up, 10Mb Broadband plus Phone with unlimited weekend calls! £20 a month plus line rental.
BT Vision Starter Deal
£17 a month
£25 Sainsburys Gift Card > Free Vision+ Box > 16Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer
Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month
Library of popular TV – over 700 shows to choose from each month including Life on Mars, Little Britain, Lost and many more. Top Up box from £39.99 – £20 set-up.